Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hard sold his government's reforms spanning from manufacturing to taxation to labour, saying they have changed the world perception about the country from 'why India' to 'why not India' and went on to quote record foreign investment during the pandemic as a testimony to that. Speaking at industry association Assocham's Foundation Week event, Modi also said agriculture reforms brought by his government six months back have started benefiting farmers.
"There was a situation in the past when investors would question 'why India' (for investing in the country). With reforms (of past six years) and their effects, its proposition has changed to 'why not India'," he said. He cited scrapping of 1,500 old and obsolete laws and farming new ones that in tune with the changing investment order as an example of his government's outlook.
"Earlier investors cited high tax rates to say Why India but today (corporate) tax rates are so competitive that they say why not India'," he said. Previously, a web of regulations and rules were cited by investors to ask why to invest in India but easing compliance burden in the new labour laws have made them say why not India', he said.
Red tape previously made investors say Why India but a red carpet is now making them say why not India', he said. From a non-existent culture for innovation to a new ecosystem promoting and nurturing startups has given the world confidence to say why not India'.
"Earlier there was so much government interference that investors said why India'. Today the faith reposed by the government in the private sector and encouragement of foreign investors have made the same people say why not India'," he said. He stated that new India is pushing towards AatmaNirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). The government's main focus is on manufacturing and production linked incentives have been given to boost domestic capabilities and capacity, he said.
The Prime Minister called on the industry to make all efforts to make India self-reliant. "Reforms have changed global perception from 'why India' to 'why not India'," he said. "The world trusts the Indian economy. Record FDI and FPI during pandemic testimony of that." Modi asked the industry to adopt the best corporate governance and profit-sharing practices.
He also said investment in research and development (R&D) must be increased and the private sector must scale up investments. "There is a great need to increase investment in R&D. In the US, 70 per cent of investments in R&D is done by the private sector, in India the same is done by the public sector. A big chunk of this is in the IT, pharma and transport sectors. Today the need is of increasing the private sector share of investment in R&D," he said.
More R&D funds should be set aside across sectors such as agriculture, defence, space, energy, and construction. "Today when we are on mission mode to make local-global, we have to react fast to geopolitical developments. A mechanism has to be developed to see how India can meet any sudden spurt in demand in the global supply chain," he said adding there was a need for better coordination between the Ministry of External Affairs, Commerce and Trade, and industry associations.
"I would urge you to give suggestions on how to react fast and respond on global transformation, how better mechanism can be developed," he told India Inc.